FinDev Guide

COVID-19 FinDev Weekly Update | 28 May - 3 June 2020

Roundup of the most relevant coronavirus-related resources for the microfinance and financial inclusion community
Photo by Thanh Hai Nguyen, 2011 CGAP Photo Contest.

FinDev Gateway has created this COVID-19 weekly update with the latest and most relevant knowledge resources for financial inclusion as they become available. Sign up to receive FinDev's weekly update each Friday with a summary of the main issues covered during the week. 

If you have content to share in our weekly update, please submit here or contact us directly.                                                                                                                  

Weekly Summary

  • The Microfinance Coalition calls on policymakers and donors to support microfinance institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coalition says that donors and policymakers can rely on MFIs to help reach excluded people.
  • A series of blog posts on discuss the various ongoing efforts to support the microfinance sector. One post suggests that emergence of multiple initiatives in response to COVID-19 is making collective efforts less effective; the author highlights the need for a central coordinating body. In other blog posts, authors argue that it’s not too early to plan for insolvency and recapitalization of MFIs and other similar organizations; and DFIs can do more to support the sector by responding to liquidity needs, offering guarantees and possibly debt forgiveness.
  • The Alliance for Financial Inclusion has developed a policy framework to help regulators leverage digital financial services during global emergencies.
  • UNDP says that the coronavirus pandemic has caused human development index to decline, erasing the progress made in the past six years; some aspects of human development have been set back to levels seen in mid-1980s.
  • The pandemic has disproportionate effects on young people, interrupting their education and training and hurting their employment prospects. According to a new ILO global survey, the pandemic has left one in six young people unemployed with women being affected more.


  • Online lenders across Asia are facing an existential crisis as borrowers default on their loans, leading them to lay off staff, cut costs and in some cases close operations in certain countries.
  • In Southeast Asia, unemployment is reaching unprecedented levels. Thailand is expected to be the hardest hit due to the economy’s dependence on the tourism industry. 
  • In South Korea, the average lending rate for local banks hit an all-time low, declining for the fourth consecutive month. At the same time, government support has been hailed as an example of efficiency for other countries, as relief payments were disbursed to 97 percent of all households in about two weeks.


Some articles and knowledge resources referenced in this section are in French.

  • In Rwanda, motorcyclist taxi drivers will soon be required to use cashless payment to limit the spread of the virus. Airtel Rwanda is providing a digital payments platform where customers will be able to pay with their mobile phones.
  • In Cameroon, the telecom and mobile money operator MTN has suspended fees on transfers between mobile money and bank accounts.
  • Community-driven development (CDD) programs, which gather community groups, civil society, governments and the private sector, could be a quick and inclusive way to deliver cash and basic services to informal workers.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Most articles and knowledge resources referenced in this section are in Spanish.

  • In Argentina, four major commercial banks launched Play Digital, a joint platform that will provide digital payment services to more than 10 million customers.
  • The Mexican Central Bank (Banxico) says that an increasing number of companies from various sectors are interested in adopting the digital payment platform CoDi.
  • The microfinance sector in Peru opposes a law that seeks to regulate interest rates and postpone client repayments up to a year.
  • In Bolivia, microfinance institutions are demanding faster disbursement of the promised government loan to help micro, small and medium-sized companies.
  • A new interactive platform in Mexico, Federalismo en COVID, tracks policies related to COVID-19 by state.

For more on LAC, check out the latest Portal FinDev Weekly Update in Spanish.

Arab World

  • Only $1.35 billion was pledged in emergency aid for Yemen over the coming six months, $1 billion less than what the UN says is needed to address the humanitarian crisis.
  • The proportion of Palestinian households living in poverty is expected to reach 30 percent in West Bank, up from 15 percent before the coronavirus pandemic, and 64 percent in Gaza, up from 53 percent. According to the World Bank, digital infrastructure improvements could help create new high-end jobs, especially among youth.
  • Tunisia will benefit from a $59 million loan from the Arab Monetary Fund as part of a regional loan facility for the Fund’s member countries to address the impacts of COVID-19.

For more on the Arab world and resources in Arabic, check out the latest FinDev Weekly Update in Arabic.

COVID-19 Resources

Man on a boat with a lantern. Photo by Uttam Kamati, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest.

Global Community Response to COVID-19

A list of organizations offering resources and insights on COVID-19 & microfinance

FinDev Guide to Data - Tracking the Global Response to COVID-19

FinDev Coronavirus Data Tracker

Data relevant for financial inclusion - find out who is tracking what

Discussion Forum.

Discussion Forum

Forum for the financial inclusion sector to discuss responses to COVID-19

New Data Source

View our complete Data Tracker listing most important sources and trackers by the level of their relevance to the sector.

60 _ Decibels: Listening in the Time of COVID-19
60 _ Decibels, a social enterprise focused on impact measurement, is conducting phone surveys with over 2,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives. This dataset documents conversations with low-income customers to track how this crisis affects them over time, and to identify their most urgent needs both now and in the future.


Recent Publications

For a complete list of publications and to learn how you can share your research with us, visit FinDev's Publications page.

Policy Framework for Leveraging Digital Financial Services to Respond to Global Emergencies – Case of COVID-19

This policy framework aims to provide policy guidance to regulators within the AFI network and beyond, in developing relevant policy/regulatory responses to mitigate the effects of global pandemics by leveraging DFS. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Supervisory Implications and Priorities for Islamic Banking
This Note discusses seven potential implications and priorities for supervisors regulating Islamic banks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in dual banking systems.

COVID-19 Risks Outlook A Preliminary Mapping and Its Implications
This report is an initial mapping which taps into the views of nearly 350 senior risk professionals who participated in the COVID-19 Risks Perception Survey.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-COVID-19 World
This collection of essays looks beyond the current crisis to the potential challenges and opportunities in the post-COVID-19 world offering new perspectives on the post-pandemic future.

COVID-19 and Human Development: Assessing the Crisis, Envisioning the Recovery
This note takes a capabilities approach to assess the crisis and shape the policy response that emphasizes the potential for people to be and do what they aspire in life as opposed to material resources or economic activity.

ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the World of Work. Fourth Edition Updated Estimates and Analysis

This edition of the ILO Monitor highlights the urgent need for policy actions that take into account the impact of the crisis on young people so as to avoid losing the productive potential of a whole generation.

View All Publications Related to COVID-19 >

Blogs & Opinion

If you have a blog idea and would like to write for the FinDev Blog, please see our review our guidelines. We do not cross-post blogs that have been published elsewhere, but if you wish to share an existing blog post in our next FinDev Weekly Update, you can send it to us using our contact form

Remittances: Still Strong, Still Evolving

Responding to the Disproportionate Impact of Lockdowns on Women

Agri-SMEs Operating in Uncertain Financial, Operational, and Supply Chain Conditions

Call to Action

From the Microfinance Coalition: Call to Action for Donors

From the Microfinance Coalition: Call to Action for Policymakers

Role of Investors

Microfinance Investors are Boxed In - and DFIs Need to Step Up

How Should Investors Coordinate When Time is of the Essence?

Preparing for Insolvency and Recapitalization: Everybody in the Pool!

Digital Finance and Fintechs

Protecting Cash Through Mobile Money?

Weathering a Perfect Storm – Part 1: The Challenges Facing Fintechs in Emerging Markets During COVID-19

Weathering a Perfect Storm – Part 2: Seven Ways Fintechs Can Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic

IndiaStack Can Help India Recover From COVID-19, but Execution Is Critical

How COVID-19 Has Affected Digital Payments to Merchants in Kenya



For the latest news on the impact of coronavirus on financial inclusion, visit our News listing pages.

Coronavirus Brings Asia's Booming Online Lending Sector to Juddering Halt

How Banks Can Work with Fintechs to Meet Evolving Digital Payments Needs

Remittances to Yemen Plummet as Needs Surge Amid War and Coronavirus

Contactless Self-Service Lockers Now Available for Financial Institutions

Podcast: Banking on Women and the Underserved During COVID-19


View All News Related to COVID-19 >

Webinars and Recordings

For the latest events - hosted by organizations worldwide - exploring the impact of coronavirus on financial inclusion, visit our Events listing page.


COVID-19 Gendered Impacts on Livelihoods in Africa

Webinar Recordings

Investing in Agriculture During the COVID-19 Crisis: Perspectives From the Impact Finance World

Savings Groups in the Age of COVID


View All Events Related to COVID-19 >

View All Webinar Recordings >

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